is a comprehensive and straightforward flight simulator geared towards aircraft designers and soon-to-be pilots. Its main goal is to create a sophisticated and realistic flight environment in research or pilot training.
Since it comes with three primary Flight Dynamics Models (FDM), namely ‘JBSim’, ‘YASim’ and ‘UIUC’, the application is aimed at simulating and constructing a plausibly aircraft, without actually configuring all the traditional aerodynamic test data.
The first model, which is written in C++, enables you to define the movement of an aircraft or rocket, as well as model the current aircraft in an XML configuration file. Because variables such as mass properties, aerodynamic and flight control properties are all defined in the XML document, you can easily configure flight control systems, propulsion and landing gear arrangement.
The second model, entitled YASim, uses a different approach than JBSim, since it can simulate the inferential effects of the airflow. The main advantage is that you can perform the entire simulation process based on geometry and mass information.
Finally, the last model, namely UIUC (which is based on LaRCsim) extends the entire flight simulation to a new level, where pilots and aircraft designers will know how to play around. This model inserts code for simulation of airplanes under icing conditions.
As far as the external environment is concerned, FlightGear contains various real world airports, accurate terrain worldwide, detailed sky model with correctly places sun, moon, stars and planets for the specified time and date, as well as with correct runway markings and placement.
The main window of the program allows you to choose the plane you are interested in, ranging from small models to significantly large airplanes. After selecting a location and configuring the display settings, the application will start the simulation process.
Although it comes packed with great features and with an advanced functionality, FlightGear does not require as many resources as you might expect, considering also the size of the installation process. During our tests, we found out that the simulation process run smoothly – however, moderate hardware requirements are needed.
To wrap it up, FlightGear proves to be a steady and effective flight simulator solution worth having when you need to learn more about aircraft, airports and pilotage.